What will email look like in the future?

I’ve been mulling over the future of online technology after all the work we’ve been doing with Google Apps for Education and implementation of Google as a learning and teaching tool and believe that the face of email and communication tools is likely to change significantly over the next few years. With gmail for example, we have been testing out various “labs” and settings to customize the interface to work best for the teachers and students. There are a number of options that help to modify the front face of the inbox and calendar; however, we’re limited by the labs made by third party programmers or the settings created by Google. From this standpoint, I think that email tools will move towards a “nugget” based layout where you can add, delete, change, modify and move various email options (nugget) on your interface to create a customized default setting. This would allow for greater efficiency and usage as individuals can customize their email interface based on their specific needs. Learning management systems like ANGEL or an online tool like Netvibes allow for exactly this type of “nugget” based organization; however, email systems have yet to adopt this type of layout. I think that the evolution of online tools for education, business and personal use will move towards more customization that does not require you to know or write programming.

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